10 December 2013
THE Catholic Church’s insurance company instructed a senior cleric not to accept responsibility or discuss compensation when meeting a victim of child sex abuse committed by a priest.
The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has heard the insurer was also sent a draft of a letter sent to the victim and recommended an admission other priests knew of the abuse be taken out.
The chancellor of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Adrian Farrelly, told today’s hearing that he received the advice from a representative of Catholic Church Insurance before meeting the victim, Joan Isaacs, in 1999.
He subsequently told the retired schoolteacher he was unable to offer her compensation and in his report of the meeting, tendered in evidence, said: “I did not offer an apology on behalf of the church but did express my sorrow at what had happened to her.”
A draft letter of apology drawn up by Father Farrelly was also sent to the insurance company before being forwarded by the Archdiocese of Brisbane to Mrs Isaacs, who was repeatedly abused as a teenager by a pedophile priest.
The sentence “I am sorry that you were not believed when you told other priests what happened to you,” was not included in the final version, the commission has heard.
Father Farrelly told the commission he understood the insurer “had a different view … as to whether that sentence should be” included.